Effects of Brazilian scorpion venoms on the central nervous system

In Brazil, the scorpion species responsible for most severe incidents belong to the Tityus genus and, among this group, T. serrulatus, T. bahiensis, T. stigmurus and T. obscurus are the most dangerous ones. Other species such as T. metuendus, T. silvestres, T. brazilae, T. confluens, T. costatus, T. fasciolatus and T. neglectus are also found in the country, but the incidence and severity of accidents caused by them are lower. The main effects caused by scorpion venoms - such as myocardial damage, cardiac arrhythmias, pulmonary edema and shock - are mainly due to the release of mediators from the autonomic nervous system. On the other hand, some evidence show the participation of the central nervous system and inflammatory response in the process. The participation of the central nervous system in envenoming has always been questioned. Some authors claim that the central effects would be a consequence of peripheral stimulation and would be the result, not the cause, of the envenoming process. Because, they say, at least in adult individuals, the venom would be unable to cross the blood-brain barrier. In contrast, there is some evidence showing the direct participation of the central nervous system in the envenoming process. This review summarizes the major findings on the effects of Brazilian scorpion venoms on the central nervous system, both clinically and experimentally. Most of the studies have been performed with T. serrulatus and T. bahiensis. Little information is available regarding the other Brazilian Tityus species.
Keywords
Brazilian scorpions;  Central nervous system;  Scorpion venom;  Scorpion toxins

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Nencioni ALA, Beraldo Neto E, Freitas LA, Dorce VAC. Effects of Brazilian scorpion venoms on the central nervous system. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins Trop. Dis.. 2018 Jan;24:3. doi:10.1186/s40409-018-0139-x.
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